The social discussion regarding the increased need of user anonymity and scrutiny over the amount of data accessible by government agencies, continues to remain at the fulcrum of the digital debate.
Following the Edward Snowden
revelations in 2013, the big five social media and tech giants jointly agreed to publicly decry the NSA snooping actions of on-line content. With this, they also denied giving any back door access to governmental agencies.
This show of contention was apparent via the joint website
and written letter, indicating their unified Voices For Reform
to the United States Senate.
Since then, at least Facebook has presented more secure and additionally encrypted measures for users to access the platform. They've instituted SSL encryption throughout the site (before it was OFF by default) and changing of how they notify users whose accounts are the subject of a court ordered request for information.
Among other things, which Facebook states more users were requesting, was the ability to access the site via VPN or encrypted channels such as a service called TOR. TOR stands for The Onion Router.
You may remember, I previously wrote about TOR and the initial roll-out of access to Facebook via the TOR platform last year. You can read that article and a brief explanation of TOR here
Now Facebook is taking it a step further, giving android users the option to connect to facebook via TOR using an app called Orbot: Tor for Android.
What is Orbit?
Orbot is a free proxy app that empowers other apps on the users device to access the internet via Tor servers. By use of Orbit and Tor, the users internet traffic is encrypted, thus hiding user activity.
"Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security known as traffic analysis."
It is recommend that you install the Orbit app firrst before trying to access Tor via the Facebook app.
So, once the Orbit app installed, go to the Facebook app on your android device and click on >Settings.
Then, go to >app settings. There you will see the option to "Use Tor via Orbot".
If you don't see the option just yet, be patient. Facebook will be rolling it out to android devices over the next few days.
What does this mean for Law Enforcement?
Ultimately, if there was ever any law enforcement interest in information regarding a specific users account, the use of Tor would not affect the records maintained by Facebook. The legal request for information would still go to Facebook. Based on the information requested, Facebook should still be to comply with legal request. Check with your state regarding legal process information requests and Facebook's Law Enforcement Guide
for guidelines regarding Legal process.
The purpose of an individuals use of Tor is for a user to encrypt their internet traffic from those that might be trying to intercept the data in transit.
This article also serves in keeping Cyber Investigators aware of the anonymizing tools that are becoming increasingly more available for everyday users.
If you would like to know more about Tor or Dark Web concepts, let me know in the comments or email me directly at tony(at)lawenforcement.social
Links for reference:
Adding Tor support on Android